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Firefighters, Police Take Part in Terror Drill at Base

ST. MARYS, Fla. -- Fire trucks, police cars and ambulances sped toward Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base on Wednesday with lights flashing and sirens wailing and it was all a drill.

The drill evaluated a mutual aid agreement between Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base and public safety departments in Camden County, officials said.

Base officials said the mock scenario, planned during the past year, was designed to test new safety equipment issued to local fire and police in the county to protect them if Kings Bay should they ever be dispatched to a chemical attack at the base.

The drill, which began at 9 a.m., ended by early afternoon.

Ed Buczek, a base spokesman, said about 100 public safety and Navy officials participated in the mock drill.

The fictitious accident involved sarin, an extremely toxic nerve agent, dispersed on base by terrorists. By the end of the exercise, three sailors were declared dead and emergency officials treated 17 sailors for injuries that could have resulted had the attack been real, Buczek said.

There was, however, one real injury. A firefighter was treated for a minor heat-related injury from wearing the heavy protective gear, Buczek said.

After the drill ended, Navy and public safety officials met to discuss their response to the drill and to evaluate the new safety equipment.

Buczek said more joint drills are planned on base to ensure mutual aid providers will be prepared if the Navy needs assistance in an emergency.

It was an educational experience for everyone," Buczek said. "There is always room for improvement."

gordon.jackson@jacksonville.com, (912) 729-3672

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